The founder of the Street Angels is in London tonight to receive a Big Society award from the Prime Minister David Cameron.
Paul Blakely MBE and his wife Jean were invited to Downing Street to collect the award on behalf of the organisation, which was created by the Christian Initiative six-and-a-half years ago.
Made up entirely of volunteers, the Street Angels work alongside police and local services to help protect vulnerable people on the streets.
Since its launch, around 120 other towns in the UK and abroad have copied the blue print to introduce similar schemes.
Street Angels now invest around 8,000 volunteering hours into Halifax each year which seems them patrol the town every weekend in distinctive uniforms offering assistance, ranging from helping elderly people onto public transport to flagging early signs of street violence or disorder to the police and CCTV operators.
Speaking ahead of his meeting with the Prime Minister, Paul said: “To be awarded the Big Society Award is an amazing accolade for the thousands of volunteers who invest time and skills into over one hundred local areas across the UK week in and week out.
“The fact that in many of these towns and cities violent crime and sexual assaults have reduced significantly and that the night-time economy has become a better place that can be enjoyed by all is proof that volunteering works and can have a massive positive impact.”
The Prime Minister praised the work of the Street Angels as being an example of what communities can achieve when they come together.
“Street Angels shows what can be achieved when communities work hand in hand with their local services to make their towns, estates and streets safer places,” he said.
“Paul and his army of volunteers embody the principals of Big Society, with people standing up and taking an active role in building the type of community they want to live in – one that looks out for the vulnerable and says no to the drunken, loutish, criminal behaviour that can too often blight communities. I’m delighted this approach has been used to tackle the very same issues in other towns and cities, as far away as Australia.
Chief Superintendent Chris Hardern, for Calderdale Police, said: “This policing initiative has shown what can be achieved when we all work together and this award is fitting recognition of that success.